Over the past three weeks or so Dan and I have been on the house hunt, with our current house going back on the market last Monday.
Our home was on the market at the start of last year when our offer was accepted on another house. But when the sale fell through at the other end we decided to withdraw our property and wait until after our wedding to look for somewhere to move.
We are interested in two of the properties we have seen already, having seen a total of six so far, with four more viewings this coming Saturday. With a brother who is an estate agent, and a Dad who worked as a self-employed builder/electrician OKC all his life I am more aware than some of what to look out for in a property and Dan and I are also aware of what we would like from our next home.
Our musts list is as follows:
* Not too close to a busy road (so that I feel safe about letting Bella out at the new house)
* Not overlooked by many other houses (I’m really not a fan of new builds for this very reason)
* Three/four bed (Living a two hour drive from both Dan’s friends and family as well as mine, it is important to us that we have some spare rooms so that we can give people the option of staying at ours – hopefully also decreasing the pressure for us to continually drive back to one place or the other at weekends)
* Not a bungalow (This doesn’t bother me having grown up in a bungalow in North Norfolk but Dan is a bit uneasy about sleeping on the ground floor of a property)
* A nice sized garden (I am very aware that we have been spoilt with the garden size at our current house, but I love being able to relax out the back in the Summer away from the eyes of strangers)
I don’t think we have a huge wishlist for a property. I really hope that when someone makes an offer on our house one of the properties that we have been to see and that we like is still available. When I bought this house at the end of 2010 it was a much easier process as I was a first-time buyer moving into a repossession property so there was no chain of buyers to wait on. Because there was a lot of work to be done to the house before moving in I could continue living with my parents (although this was a two hour drive away!) whilst the house was completed with work from my Dad, brother and myself. This time round I’ve heard so many horror stories about having to sit in a chain until each person has sorted their mortgage and next house out before rushing to move all on the same day. I have a feeling it will leave me rather stressed out.
I’ve used part of this half term holiday to organise throwing things away and recycling ready to pack up and move when things finally slot into place. Yesterday was spent with a power saw chopping up old bits of wood we had been given and tidying up our woodshed to make sure it is fully stocked ready for viewings. We had three viewings on our property last week but none currently booked in for this week which is frustrating. Whilst I am off work I have time to do all those little touches to the property before someone comes round, such as lighting a fire in the woodburner, baking a cake or bread and making sure Bella is out of the way! Normally I’m out of the door for work by 6:30am with no time to do such things.
It has been fun looking round other properties though. As I said, we have two possibles in our list at the moment, and even houses we’re not so keen on have given us ideas for decorating. Some of the properties are very definitely ‘Nos’ as soon as we begin to walk around – or more often as we step out into the garden. Estate agents are very sneaky about taking photos of the garden from ground level and it is often difficult to tell just how overlooked a property is.
Top five annoying things told to me by an estate agent:
1. “We have found the perfect property for you!…It’s a one bedroom first floor flat backing right out onto the A6 for easy access to work.” – This is one of my biggest pet hates…estate agents not listening to, or choosing to ignore the criteria we are looking for in a property.
2. “This would make an excellent room for a baby.” – Why, thank you estate agent (who I met today) for dictating that at thirty and newly married I should be thinking about children as the next stage of my life. I will make that call thank you very much. You have no idea if I already have children or if I am infact unable to do so, so please don’t make judgements about me. Also, just what makes a spare room become an ideal ‘baby room’?!
3. “It will probably take you about a year to be ready to move in.” – Again, please don’t judge me because I tell you that I work as a teacher for a living. I am not building the house, therefore having carpets put down, adding a few licks of paint to the walls and the odd shelf fixed will not take me a year to complete and will absolutely not put my moving in date back a year!
4. Almost to the other extreme – “A few hundred pounds spent in the right places and you would almost believe this was a new-build inside.” – Said about a property with several missing doors, plaster peeling from the walls, an unfinished kitchen and with all carpet in desperate need of replacing.
5. “I’m not sure what this house is on the market for at the moment…”, “And in here we have…a bedroom – either the first or second one.” – Please know your stuff before showing us around. I knew how much the property was on the market for, and from looking at the floorplan online I could have told you that the room was infact the second bedroom before stepping inside. Not knowing your stuff is really off-putting and pretty unprofessional as well. We had intended on putting our house up for sale with this estate agent but after such a poor viewing (amongst other things) decided to go for one that had shown much more care to detail when showing us around and listening to what we wanted.
Despite having been busy with organising the house, I have still fitted in plenty of runs each week and this week I’ve been enjoying running in the late mornings – with enough time to have a lazy start to the day, tick a few things off my list and use running as a break and de-stress from the rest of life!
Have you ever moved house before? How did you find the process?